Trends in fatal injuries in the workplace, 1992–2011
April 28, 2014
Workers’ Memorial Day, recognized annually on April 28, is dedicated to the memory of workers who were killed, injured, or made ill at work. From 1992 to 2011, a total of 115,091 workers were killed in the United States from injuries incurred while on the job. The annual total of fatal occupational injuries decreased by 25 percent over the 20‑year period.
|Year||Total||White, non-Hispanic||Black or African-American, non-Hispanic||Asian or Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic||Other races or not reported, non-Hispanic||Hispanic or Latino|
Note: Data from 2001 exclude fatal work injuries resulting from the September 11 terrorist attacks; data from 1995 include fatal work injuries resulting from the Oklahoma City bombing. See National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2001 for a detailed look at fatal work injuries resulting from the September 11 attacks.
Annual fatalities ranged from a high of 6,632 in 1994 to a low of 4,551 in 2009. These counts translate to an average of one worker fatality every 79 minutes in 1994, compared with an average of one every 115 minutes in 2009.
Nearly 72 percent of all fatally injured workers from 1992 to 2011 were White, non-Hispanic workers. Hispanic or Latino workers accounted for 13 percent of those killed on the job.
While the annual total of fatal occupational injuries has decreased since 1992, the composition of that total has shifted. The most common event leading to a fatal occupational injury in both 1992 and 2011 was a roadway incident. Roadway incidents accounted for 19 percent of all occupational fatalities in 1992 and 24 percent in 2011. Homicides fell as a percentage of all fatalities over the 20‑year span, accounting for 17 percent of all work fatalities in 1992 and 10 percent in 2011. Falls to a lower level increased as a percentage of all fatalities, rising from 8 percent in 1992 to 12 percent in 2011. Contact with electricity accounted for 5 percent of fatalities in 1992 and 4 percent in 2011.
|Event or exposure||Number||Percent|
Fall to a lower level
Contact with electric current
Note: Data from 1992 and 2011 are not strictly comparable because different classification systems were used in each of those years.
These data are from the BLS Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program, which publishes annual counts of fatal occupational injuries by demographic and employment characteristics of those killed and selected characteristics of the fatal incident itself. Final counts of fatal work injuries in the United States in 2012 were published on April 24, 2014.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Trends in fatal injuries in the workplace, 1992–2011 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140428.htm (visited March 27, 2015).
Three recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
Trends in long-term unemployment
Long-term unemployment reached historically high levels following the recession of 2007–2009.
Housing: before, during, and after the Great Recession
looks at consumer expenditures on household items, employment in residential construction, prices for household items, and injuries in occupations involved in building and maintaining our homes.
Women veterans in the labor force examines the demographic, employment, and unemployment characteristics of women veterans.